David Ignatius At The Washington Post:
‘What Gulf Arabs and Israelis fear most is that U.S. engagement with Iran will be accompanied by American disengagement from the region. This is why Obama’s incessant talk about ending wars in the Middle East and his blink on using military power in Syria frightened these countries. They saw it as a prelude to a general U.S. retreat. Obama must signal that an agreement with Iran is instead a bridge to a regional security framework in which U.S. power remains the guarantor.’
So are we in good policy hands? When I think about Obamacare and the progressive ideals guiding it, the base supporting it, and the execution of the thing…well, I get a little uncomfortable. A least there were some Machiavellian tactics and shrewd messaging which might be useful in dealing with Iran, but those tactics seem reserved for domestic political opposition while the worst-of-the-worst in the world are enticed into negotiations with liberal internationalist policy and democracy promotion.
I also think about the difference-splitting and dithering on Syria, allowing a window of opportunism for Putin to step-in, and Assad to stay while the war rages on for very little in return. Assad is now recovering as the war rages on and the region becomes more unstable.
Walter Russell Mead from his site:
‘At its essence, it seems to us, the deal being debated right now in Geneva is some form of “nukes for Syria” arrangement: Iran promises to give up certain parts of its nuclear program in return for some sanctions relief and a freer hand for its hegemonic aspirations in the greater Middle East. This deal is premised on a number of uncertainties: that Iran will honestly and verifiably forgo its nuclear weapons program, and that its regional hegemonic aspirations won’t lead the region into more conflict ‘
Surely you trust our current administration to handle all of these moving parts even if you don’t trust the Iranians?
Previously on this site:
I was surprised to find that Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor from 1977 to 1981, described very nearly what the Obama administration’s current Iran policy seems to be. Runs from 32:52 to 35:10 (Sorry I couldn’t embed with the exact time-stamp).
A few minutes can explain a lot. Well worth your time.
Addition: Here’s a brief summary of that argument:
1. The Iranians and the Iranian regime, despite what their intentions may be, have a right to enrich uranium up to 5% according to international law. They’re doing this.
2. We’re asking them to abandon this right as a precondition to any negotiations, creating an asymmetry. We should offer to lift sanctions first in return just to get them to swallow their pride and sit down for talks. This pride may extend beyond the mullahs and regime, and go into the cultural and national psyche of Iranians.
3. Whatever their intentions may be, unlike North Korea, the Iranian regime isn’t out and proud about nuclear enrichment and weaponization. They’re at least claiming to follow international law which gives us some leverage.
Addition: From the Jerusalem Post, it’s looking like the right to enrich uranium in the first place is a sticking point. The clock is ticking, and many costs have already built up.
So what are our interests and how do we secure them as the fires in the Middle-East rage? Michael Totten makes a case here in Why We Can’t Leave The Middle-East.’ He gets push-back in the comments